The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) said Thursday that “sabong” (cockfighting) remains prohibited even under more relaxed quarantine measures.

Interior Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya said that unless the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases releases guidelines allowing the resumption of cockfighting operations under general and modified general community quarantines, it will remain banned.

“Kasi kung babasahin po natin muli ang IATF resolutions, kahit po iyong omnibus guidelines, wala po doon specific referral to a cockpit arena. Wala po ni isang resolution ang nagpapayag sa operasyon ng mga cockpit arena, kahit po sa MGCQ, kahit 50-percent capacity,” Malaya said during Thursday’s Laging Handa Briefing.

Interior Secretary Eduardo Año in a statement reminded the public that the less stringent lockdowns currently in place were not an excuse to violate quarantine rules.

“Ang GCQ po ay hindi para magawa po natin ang mga gusto nating gawin tulad ng pagsasabong; ito po ay para gumulong ulit ang ekonomiya. GCQ or MGCQ does not mean we are free of the virus so we must always be vigilant,” he said.

The DILG chief also told local government units: “Bantayan po natin ang mga sabungan na ito at huwag natin silang payagaang magbukas dahil ito po ay labag sa batas.”

Malacañang had repeatedly warned the public that the country could shift back to an enhanced community quarantine should the public commit quarantine violations leading to more Covid-19 cases.

“Again, I appeal to the people, whether be it GCQ, MGCQ, we still have a ‘Q’. We still have a quarantine. The threat is there. It is real. The only way we can beat the spread of the disease is by observing social distancing, staying at home unless necessary, [and] observing minimum hygiene. Keep safe,” Palace spokesman Harry Roque earlier said. John Ezekiel J. Hirro